The 2021 CFDA Fashion Awards are fast approaching and we can’t wait!

Tonight, fashion’s brightest stars will be awarded and honored at the event, which takes place in New York City.

In addition to its fashion awards, the organization in partnership with Vogue, supports and nurtures emerging artists through their grant program, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. Candidates vie for an opportunity to obtain funding and mentoring to help grow their businesses—with only ten winners selected each year.

This year, we’re happy to see that seven of our favorite Black designers are among them: Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka of House of Aama, LaQuan Smith, Kenneth Nicholson, Jameel Mohammad of Khiry, Abrima Erwiah of Studio 189, Anifa Mvuemba of Hanifa, and Edvin Thompson of Theophilio.

To top that off, some of the 2021 grant winners are also in the running for the CFDA Fashion Awards this evening. Here, we’ve compiled a list of honorees and nominees to look out for:


The Fashion Icon Award: Zendaya

The Founder’s Award in honor of Eleanor Lambert: Aurora James (for her 15 Percent Pledge)

The Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award: Dapper Dan


American Womenswear Designer of the Year Nominee: Christopher John Rogers

American Menswear Designer of the Year Nominees: Jeffrey Lorenzo of Fear of God, Telfar Clemens of Telfar

American Accessories Designer of the Year Nominees: Aurora James of Brother Vellies, Telfar Clemens of Telfar

American Emerging Designer of the Year Nominees: Edvin Thompson of Theophilio, Jameel Mohammad of Khiry, Kenneth Nicholson.

International Men’s Designer of the Year Nominees: Grace Wales Bonner for Wales Bonner, Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton

For more on our favorite 2021 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winners, see below.

Image: courtesy of House of Aama

Founded in 2015 by the mother–daughter design duo Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka, the Los Angeles–based House of Aama produces timeless, vintage-inspired garments informed by the Black experience. 

Image: courtesy of Laquan Smith

Queens, New York native Laquan Smith is a force to be reckoned with. Since the 2013 debut of his eponymous label, his favorite musical artists—including Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna—have sported his pieces. 


Image: courtesy of Kenneth Nicholson

Kenneth Nicholson dedicated his latest runway collection to his high school self. The Houston native hopes to transform his namesake label into an American legacy fashion house.  
Image: courtesy of Khiry

Afrofuturist luxury brand Khiry is well-known for its standout sculptural jewelry. In 2016, designer Jameel Mohammed founded the Brooklyn-based outfit while he was studying political science at the University of Pennsylvania.  
Image: courtesy of Studio 189

Founded by actress and activist Rosario Dawson and designer Abrima Erwiah, Studio 189 is known for its bold colors and patterns. The lifestyle brand, based in Ghana and New York City, works with artisanal communities that specialize in sustainable techniques.
Image: courtesy of Hanifa

Last year, designer Anifa Mvuemba shook up the industry with her 3D virtual fashion show. Her label, Hanifa (which means "true believer" in Arabic), is inspired by and designed for women who aspire to live their lives without limits. On November 16, she'll be presenting her first in-person runway show in her hometown of Washington, D.C. 
Image: courtesy of Theophilio

Jamaican-born designer Edvin Thompson of Theophilio is taking the Big Apple by storm. Based in Brooklyn, he often uses uses his carefree Caribbean upbringing as a reference point for his lively designs.